Musique concrète

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Musique concrète (French for "concrete music" or "real music") is a form of electroacoustic music that utilises acousmatic sound as a compositional resource. The compositional material is not restricted to the inclusion of sounds derived from musical instruments or voices, nor to elements traditionally thought of as "musical" (melody, harmony, rhythm, metre and so on). The theoretical underpinnings of the aesthetic were developed by Pierre Schaeffer, beginning in the late 1940s.



Pierre Schaeffer

The French composer and theorist Pierre Schaeffer is credited with originating musique concrete in five works for phonograph (known collectively as Cinq études de bruits, or Five Studies of Noises) including Etude violette (Study in Purple) and Etude aux chemins de fer (Study of Railroads). The works were premiered at a concert given in Paris on the 5th of October 1948 (Chion 1983). The development of musique concrète was facilitated by the emergence of new music technology in post-war Europe. Access to microphones, phonographs and later magnetic tape recorders (created in 1939 and acquired by the G.R.M.C. in 1952), afforded by an association with the French national broadcasting organization, at that time the Radiodiffusion-Télévision Française, gave Schaeffer and his colleagues an opportunity to experiment with recording technology and tape manipulation.

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